Arikos was buried in work even at midnight thanks to Leguna.
"Hmph! Has Stok's intelligence agency started fumbling around already?"
He snickered, gave it some thought, then approved some documents before stacking them on another pile. Those were critical documents that would be sent to Larwin the next morning.
Almost done... I think I can go to sleep after dealing with these... Leguna you little prick, going to Seatide for fights without making a sound. I'm sure you've rested enough, so be ready to work your ass off when you get back! he thought venomously as he picked up another stack of reports. He swept his gaze through their contents and furrowed his brow.
The chairman should have been referring to this document, right? If Leguna finds out about it... I worry that he'll kill me.
Even though the report was only a few lines long, it took Arikos half an hour to decide what to do with it.
Gah, I don't care. Since the chairman gave those orders, I have to complete them no matter what! Arikos made his decision and stood up, lighting the document with a nearby candle and tossing it into the brazier. It was full of useless burnt documents and most of them were color coded blue, which meant that they weren't urgent reports.
However, the document Arikos just burned had a red border. Those indicated that the information contained within were crucial and likely had something to do with the enemy's forces.
"Sigh... I'm back again..." Leguna looked at the city walls like the walls of his prison.
"There are some things you can't run away from," Annelotte said, either trying to reassure or reprimand him.
"If it weren't for what you said back then, I might've lived life as a bandit over the hills there! But I'll only do it for women, not for money!" he said with a snicker.
Annelotte rolled her eyes without bothering to reply.
Ever since the mission at Seatide ended, Annelotte appeared far less irritable and agitated. In the past, she would've chased Leguna around town for his unnecessary comment. But now, she couldn't even bother. After three to four years of punishing him, he still wore that dumb smile of his. Who would bother wasting energy on a fool's errand?
Though, there was a limit to how much she could tolerate. That time, when Leguna accidentally bumped into (read: intentionally tried to peek at) Annelotte bathing, he was beaten to the high heavens.
Their little brawl almost tore the whole inn apart. The magi that were traveling with him back to Melindor happened to catch sight of it and later came to understand that while Annelotte's temperament was usually quite good, she was probably three times stronger than Leguna in terms of damage capacity. They awakened to the fact that angering her would be far worse than triggering the demonic Leguna.
As such, Annelotte was no longer an expressionless girl in the magi's eyes, but rather someone they couldn't afford to set off no matter what.
"Is this Melindor? Come to think of it, it's the first time I've seen the capital of the north," Perelia mumbled as she looked at the walls. She wasn't too shocked at the size of the city since the millennium capital of Stok was no doubt larger than Melindor.
"You'll get used to life here eventually, Miss Perelia," Annelotte said.
"Miss Annelotte, thank you for the care and trust you have shown me in the past few days," Perelia said as she lowered her head with respect.
After spending some time with Annelotte, Perelia began to admire the young woman more and more. Even though she was much younger than she was, Annelotte's accomplishments in the field of magic had greatly exceeded her imagination, both in theory and in combat.
The whole reason she was able to find out about it in the first place was thanks to the peeping incident.
Perelia was also quite happy with Annelotte's personality. She found that even though the girl usually didn't smile and didn't talk much, she was surprisingly gentle towards people. She had never bragged about her talent and would never talk down on others when she discussed magic with them.
Perhaps this is actually a chance for me? Perelia decided to serve Annelotte well. If she grasped this opportunity properly, she might be able to earn a rather decent position for herself in Hocke.
That was why she did her best to cooperate over the past few days, causing Annelotte to ask Leguna to remove the magical bindings on Perelia. Even though it didn't really do much damage to keep her bound, it was quite inconvenient and painful for magi to not be allowed to use spells. Annelotte, a magus herself, knew that well too.
"If you're really thankful, make sure to serve Annelotte well," Leguna said with a smile.
"I will definitely do all I can to help replicate the magic cannons!" Perelia proclaimed.
Annelotte nodded. "I will be counting on you."
They didn't cause any commotion upon entering the city. Leguna snuck away not long after. Even though word of Leguna's huge contribution at Seatide would spread sooner or later, the bad communications in this world made it so that it would take a month or two before the news reached Melindor. The common folk were completely unaware of what the bureau's director had done.
"Mistress!" Alaine called out from afar.
"Ouch..." Leguna winced. Alaine was the one he least wanted to see. For some reason, she seemed to hate him with a passion and she would definitely have her sharp tongue pointed in Leguna's direction in their usual interactions.
"Alaine, you're here," Annelotte said as a hint of joy flashed across her face. The maidservant was quick and effective and always thought about her sake. How could anyone not miss having a maidservant like her around?
"After the master received word of your return, he sent me to fetch you."
"Hah, what is the old man playing at? If it were me, I'd definitely come in person," Leguna complained.
"Eh? And there I was wondering who it is... It's none other than the lecher!"
"Can you not call me that?" Leguna's expression contorted. That was always the first thing she would say to him every time they met.
"Tch, own up for your actions, won't you?" she said with disdain.
"Enough, Alaine. Let's head back!" Annelotte didn't want the harsh reputation Leguna tried hard to build among the magi to be ruined by Alaine, so she came to his aid.
"Where are these people heading? Our manor won't be able to accommodate so many people!" she said with a start after casting a glance at the crestfallen fellows.
"I'm just heading back to the manor for a while and leaving by tonight. You don't have to prepare anything."
"Ah..." Alaine's face was filled with disappointment. "Mistress, didn't you take a day or two of rest at the manor in between your assignments? I wanted to serve you well this time! You might not know this, mistress, but people are saying that I'm not working my part as a personal maidservant!"
"I have something else to attend to this time," Annelotte said as she stroked Alaine's head, "As for what people say, let them! Alright, let's head back. Leguna, take these magi to the bureau."
Though Leguna had wanted to meet Marolyt first, he didn't dare to slack off after seeing how serious Annelotte was. He could only nod and agree.
When Leguna saw Arikos, he noticed that the petite middle-aged man seemed to have aged quite a bit. The tasks of the bureau must've not been easy on him.
What surprised him was that Arikos didn't curse and complain at him like the last time. He only greeted Leguna solemnly before moving on to handing the work to him.
While that behavior surprised Leguna quite a bit, he didn't think too much about it. Leguna only took it as Arikos being too tired to make a fuss and felt rather apologetic about it. He failed to notice how Arikos was avoiding his gaze.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter